Bill Clegg counts on the Caribbean

(New York) – A senior executive of a leading global hospitality chain is reaffirming his faith in the Caribbean as a region for sustained growth and development.

Bill Clegg, regional vice president of franchise service and programs with Choice Hotels International and recipient of the recent Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) Leadership Award, said it was an honor to be recognized for his efforts in a part of the world that he remains extremely passionate and enthusiastic about.

“I manage Choice Hotels franchise service operations in the northeast USA. That’s my day job. But I also have a passion for working with (our very fun collection of) hotels in the Caribbean,” Clegg told an audience of media, tourism stakeholders, entrepreneurs, students and business leaders at The 40/40 Club in New York City earlier this month.

Clegg noted that despite today’s difficult economic environment, after almost 15 years of working with the Caribbean, he is still bullish on the region, and his company is looking forward to opening several new hotels across the Caribbean in 2014.

He was particularly upbeat about Ascend Hotel Collection member hotels which offer the best of both worlds. Properties retain their independent identity and continue to deliver superior guest service, while receiving the benefits of a growing membership program with a leading lodging company, including shepherding support in marketing, reservations and operations.

“With Ascend, if you have a hotel operating in the region today that is satisfying guests and is of high enough quality to join our system, but wants an extra boost through distribution and travel agents and other reservation sources, that’s where you come to us. And you can continue to operate the way that you’ve operated, working in partnership with us,” he said.

The North Carolina-based Clegg oversees Choice Hotels’ eight Caribbean hotels in addition to managing franchise service delivery to Choice’s franchised hotels throughout the northeast United States. He holds the Certified Hotel Administrator designation, and has served the hospitality industry for close to 35 years – with Choice Hotels, Marriott, Sheraton and Dominion Lodging.

In addition to his work with Choice, Clegg serves, in a voluntary capacity, as Regional Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, and is Chairman of its membership committee.

Clegg was instrumental in assisting an all-woman Caribbean media team to cover Haiti’s recovery from the 2010 earthquake and has been an advocate of strengthening the region’s media.

Joining Clegg on the CMEx honor roll were Earlston McPhee, the focal point for sustainable tourism development at the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Puerto Rico’s Terestella González Denton, and Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

The event was supported by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, the Barbara Pyle Foundation, Bay Gardens Resorts, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, Caribe Hilton San Juan, Coco Palm, Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach, LIAT – The Caribbean Airline, Peace and Plenty Hotel, Sky Beach Club, Stuart Cove’s Aqua Adventures, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalu, and Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace and Casino.

CMEx’s mission is to support and develop the ability of the media, government, the travel and tourism industry and communities to consider the importance of tourism in sustainable development, while lending a hand to the communities involved by sharing relevant expertise, financial and in-kind assistance.

For further information, visit www.cmexmedia.org.

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